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Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Tree that Would Not Behave

2005, the tree wants to grow big . . .
Stupid apricot tree. I have done everything this year to kill it that I know of. I cut all the limbs off and cut it down to the trunk. It sprouted a bunch of branch starts all over. I pulled them all off. I was told to girdle the tree. I girdled it. It sprouted new branch starts all over. I pulled them off. I was told to bore holes in it and fill them with a tree stump removal product. My husband did the honors. The tree is sprouting new branch starts everywhere and growing suckers from the roots.
2007, the year we got six apricots

Why do we want to kill such an apparently strong tree?
2012, what the tree looked like year after year, with no fruit

In twelve years this apricot tree has produced exactly six apricots!

2014, pruning in progress
I pruned it and pruned it and pruned it year after year, following all the advice from the experts, doing it exactly the way I did our other apricot tree that had buckets and buckets of fruit year after year. This tree? Nothing.

2014, see the bee!
I started threatening it two years ago. I said, “If you don’t produce apricots, I’m going to cut you down.” This is the Grammy method. (Grammy used to threaten her plants that if they didn’t bloom, she’d throw them out. They always bloomed for her. My mother would take her non-blooming houseplants over there and they’d bloom for Grammy. But when my mother got them home, they never bloomed again unless she took them back.) So it bloomed with some promise. You can see the bees came buzzing around to pollinate it. Things looked pretty good.

2014, alas, no fruit yet again
Then we had some snow and frost. And all the blossoms froze. And the tree began producing what it does best, water spout-type branches. You know, the kind that shoot up long and straight with no side branching, just reaching for the sky.

This tree, I swear, has been determined to become a shade tree all its life. Either that or it wants to be an aspen tree—it grows suckers up from its roots all around the ground where we know its roots spread. It is the strangest thing I have ever seen in a supposed fruit tree.

Well I won’t have it. It stands too close to my garden to become a shade tree. If it had buckled down to becoming a fruit-producing dwarf apricot, it could have still been growing this year. Instead, one way or another this year it is coming out and those roots are going to stop trying to produce new trees everywhere.

No more apricot tree that won’t behave.
“I will not die. You can’t make me!”


  1. The root stock that the apricot was grafted to is probably a variety of plum. Apricot roots get too many diseases so they are always grafted. So the suckers that come up from the roots are not apricot. Dig it up. Or you could use explosives :-)

    1. I wondered about what kind of root stock it could have. Didn't know it was a plum graft. If I have to resort to explosives, YOU are under orders to come down and administer them, okay?!!


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